Marta Pacheco

Belgium & Portugal

Political Science and Media & Journalism graduate © Journalist contributor for Cafebabel and Katoikos, based in Brussels © PAN-Activist ∞ Infatuation for Politics, Human Rights, International Conflicts & Crisis, Environment, Energy and Health, European Union ∞ Books, Movies & Documentaries ∞

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell


EU Affairs

What future for the European Union?

After almost six years of proxy war in Syria and the escalation of the terrorist group ISIL, a major crisis was triggered in the European Union. Refugees, controlled borders and disunion are at the centerpiece of the Union. Will Europe be able to uphold its social and moral values?

Elections régionales en France : le populisme en hausse dans toute l'Europe

Le paysage politique de la France contemporaine a toujours été dominé par les Républicains et les Socialistes mais le scénario est en train de changer. La crise, le chômage et la menace terroriste ont été les meilleurs amis du Front National qui a profité du mécontentement général de la population pour monter au créneau.

Making Europe...
Minority Left Government in Portugal after Former Government Falls

By Marta Pacheco As expected, the shaky Portuguese right-wing government led by a centre-right coalition fell, toppled by a left-wing alliance. Considered by many as a milestone, the collapse of the Portugal à Frente coalition paved the way for a left-led government headed by the alliance formed by the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc and the Communist Party together with the Greens.

Commission Work Programme 2016: What's on the Table?

The Commission has recently presented its 2016 Work Programme, the second since Juncker is in power. "The motto of our work programme this year is 'no time for business as usual'", said vice-president Timmermans. "All the actions we propose are underpinned by our Better Regulation Agenda.

After General Elections, Portuguese Left defies minority government

After four years of unbridled austerity, on October 4th, Portugal went to the polls on its first post-bailout government. With a national total of 43% abstaining, the Portuguese people elected the very same right-wing government - the coalition between PSD and CDS-PP, though with a relative majority.

Corbyn's Hurdles: Tory Propaganda and Hostile Media

OPINION] British Labour party has a new leader. Corbyn, 66, has been a Member of the Parliament for Islington North since 1983. His election has already spread a big dose of controversy amongst the British media due to Corbyn's reactionary nature as well as to media's invasive stamp.

Greek Debt Audit's Coordinator Accuses Criminal Debt System

The situation in Greece is calamitous. Draghi has dictated the closing of all banks, restricting people to withdrawals of 60€ per day from the ATMs. How far will the Greek crisis go? The mainstream media has been flooding our news feed with the same discourse over and over again: Will there be reforms? Will Greece pay its debt?

Immigration, Huntington and the EU

A serious debate on immigration is still going on in the EU after the recent tragic events in the Mediterranean. How should Europe respond to immigration? History has been shaped by migration and the EU must learn from the past to win the challenges of the future.

UK after the elections: stagnation or a country rising up?

After the excitement of the general elections in the UK peaked with a weighted victory for the Conservatives (51%), the battle will now take place in a different field. Following Ed Miliband 's resignation after a disastrous election night (36%), Labour is paving the way for its future leader.

UK General Election: The Game of Votes

Through a Historical perspective and going back to the XIX century, when Queen Victoria was ruling the United Kingdom, the game of politics was already on, mostly played by both Labour and Tories just like currently.

Migration: What is Europe really doing?

Migration was always an European concern and it has always existed. If we consider the war and conflicts as a constant element in the world History, we better understand the concept of migration. With the war in Syria and Iraq spreading to Libya, the European Union has witnessed to an enormous flux of migrants coming from North Africa to Italy.

Hungarians against Orbán demand for Democracy

When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is ranked in second place by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), we understand the swingeing concern that Hungarian citizens are going through. On the top of the table is, naturally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Orban's good friend.

Europe in a State of Siege

More than ever, we are living now in a sleepless Europe, a territory with a high threat of terrorism. Europe has its eyes wide open and the European heads of state are currently working on ways to assure an impenetrable European Union.

European Union Has Its Eyes On Greece

After three unsuccessful voting rounds for presidential elections, Greece was pushed to parliamentary elections to be held on January 25th. Opinion polls show a victory by the left-wing party Syriza, known for its radicalism and anti-austerity ideology.

Some thoughts on the attack of Charlie Hebdo

The 7th of January 2015 will not be forgotten: it will be part of History. Twelve lives were mowed down, twelve human beings were caught by surprise by three armed men who brutally ended their lives. Why? Because of a satirical drawing of the Islamic prophet.

Crisis in Ukraine on the focus of the EU Summit

A few days before Christmas, European leaders discussed the problems of the Union and ways of tackling it. Rather than decisions made, the meeting started a new cycle in European politics. As expected, EU leaders discussed topics such as the €315 billion package proposed by Juncker and the situation in Ukraine.

Britain reinforces measures against terrorism

First, Cameron wanted to close all UK's borders in order to stop the entrance of new immigrants, initiative extremely criticized by the Chancellor Angela Merkel who warned him of trying to act against the fundamental principles of free movement of the Union.

Tusk's challenges as new President of the Council

Not everyone was able to fully know former European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, due to his discreet and reserved presence. As of the 1st of December, Polish ex-Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, replaced Mr. Rompuy, ready for the challenges imposed by a recovering Europe.

Crisis and far-right parties: guess who is supporting them

With the financial and economic crisis in the European Union, we witnessed the surge of new political parties from the left to the right in the political spectrum. After the elections for the Parliament, we had a clear image of how discontent citizens are across Europe.

Divided UK when it comes to Europe

Once again, UKIP overturned a 10,000 Tory majority to take the seat by 2,920 votes, in a byelection triggered by defector Mark Reckless. The political campaign was intense and the environment living in the UK is being pressed by the coming general elections, in 2015.

Shameless corruption in Portugal

Firstly, following the Golden Visa scheme, which allows citizens from outside Schengen Area to have a residence permit in Portugal in exchange of a minimum investment in the country of 500 thousand euros, a fraudulent scheme was found and it became a public case with the detention of high representatives of the portuguese political scene.

What is Youth Guarantee?

Between 2007 and 2013, youth unemployment reached high numbers across Europe, increasing from 15.7% to 23.4%. As a reaction to this social disaster, the European Commission decided to implement a new programme - Youth Guarantee - to benefit all young people under 25 years. This initiative entails jobs, apprenticeships, and traineeships, as well as continuing education.

A nightmare called EU budget

The "budget season" has begun across Europe and all Member States are now in uproar estimating their future spendings for the upcoming year. At a European level, journalists complain about the EU lawmakers, who have created a range of complexities, blaming them of being political forces trying to make the European Budget a complex process of difficult interpretation.

LuxLeaks: How the biggest global corporations have cheated us

After an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media across 32 countries, 548 Luxembourg tax rulings were leaked, exposing a scheme approved by the tax office of Luxembourg, during the time when Juncker was Prime Minister of the duchy.

UK on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Firstly, we see a Conservative Party losing even more ground to UKIP as a new poll has shown that more than a quarter of those who voted Conservatives in the 2010 General Election (27%) are now planning to vote for UKIP.

First week of Foreign Affairs under the new Commission

After her first official week in office, European High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini has already made some moves on the twitchy European political scene. To begin with, Mogherini condemned the non-official separatist votes in eastern Ukraine, following the legislative elections which gave way to the pro-Western party leading the country.

Tories "between a rock and a hard place"

According to a ComRes poll regarding the approaching elections, Farage's party shows a significant percentage advance compared to the Conservatives. In fact, the polls point to an impressive 13 point lead over the Tories. The survey questioned 1500 adults in the constituency, placing UKIP at 43%, Conservatives with 30% and Miliband's Labour in third with 21%.

Immigration at the top of the agenda after conflict between Cameron and Clegg

The UK is facing difficult moments as their decision-making process is, somehow, very dependent on Europe's approval. And Europe is not happy with Cameron. In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already shown her opposition to Cameron's desire of a renegotiation plan regarding migration policies.

Being a MEP's Assistant

As we all can imagine, being a MEP's Assistant seems to be a very tough job, but if you live in the world of politics - especially European - that's the right way to go. We contacted Assistant Heather Bailey, who, in the middle of a very busy week, was able to give us some responses.

The Other Side of The Coin: The Anti-Summit!

Brussels is accustomed to meetings of the highest political echelon. Better yet, one could say citizens are already resigned to the roads being blocked and helicopters flying overhead. But there is also the other side of the coin, when the presence of leaders can be taken advantage of to get out to the streets and protest.

Angry Hungary over a Repressive System

For the past months, Hungary has been in the European newspapers quite often and not for the best reasons. First, it was the global attack against the nomination of Tibor Navracsics, current Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner, whose position regarding Human Rights was quite controversial.

Cameron's strategy against UKIP

David Cameron decided to push for change in rules concerning EU migration, causing quite a debate in the UK and European media. Under pressure after two defections to UKIP, the Prime-Minister expressed that restoring control over the UK's borders would be a priority, alleging to the The Huffington Post that the system "has not been working properly."

A New European Step Towards Palestine's Recognition

In the beginning of the month, Sweden positively surprised the international community by recognising the State of Palestine. This initiative sprung up by the recent prime-minister, Stefan Löfven, who assumed his office on October 3rd. Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, didn't hide her indifference towards EUA's criticism, saying that the "US won't define our policies."

Political Swirl in the UK

Liberal Democrat Vince Cable told the Huffington Post that Germany has 'colonised' the European Commission. This statement is pretty clear about his feelings towards Europe's influence in Westminster. Nevertheless, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2007, expressed in The Guardian that he would accept an EU poll (regarding the referendum), but that leaving would be an economic suicide.

Europe's Reaction to the Islamic State

What began as an atrocious civil war in 2011 in Syria, has degenerated into a deadly repressive system that, along with Northern Iraq, is under the control of radical extremists who created a caliphate - a territory roughly the size of Portugal or Belgium.

Mogherini, Ashton's successor

Born in Rome, Mogherini graduated in Political Science after writing a thesis about politics and Islam. Although active in national left-wing politics since 1988, only very recently she was nominated Italian foreign minister, in February 2014.

The European Face Behind the International Cooperation

If we take a look at his background, Mimica has been active in politics for almost three decades, with a prominent role in Foreign and Economic Affairs. For this future Commissioner, there are priorities to follow. Coherence and coordination in working within the European Commission is a must for the well functioning of all defined goals.


Making Europe...
Parliament rejects Commission's proposal on GMOs: Business before Health?

By Marta Pacheco The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has rejected a proposal by the Commission which gives Member States the power to restrict or prohibit imported genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), and asked the Commission to drop the plan altogether.

Fifty years of European Health Legislation

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most vastly regulated industries in the world. As for the European Union and its Member States, they are responsible for an intricate web of legislation and regulation. There is a very long way between the development of a new drug and its legal introduction in the market.

Andriukaitis wants an EU health system for everyone

The first council of health ministers, on the 1st of December, was the starting point for Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, to share his ideas and vision on EU health policy. In fact, Andriukaitis seems to be very pragmatic as he wants to see things happen rapidly.

New European Health goals to 2014-2020

In fact, the actions taken by the EU affect the health of the European population and, naturally, the performance of the health systems. It is vital to understand the role of health within the European Union, especially in a time of change, when health systems have to deal with new challenges driven by the threat posed by the financial crisis and the surge of euroscepticism in politics.

International Affairs

NATO's Emergency Meeting: Is PKK behind the curtain?

On 27 July, Turkey requested an extraordinary meeting at NATO headquarters, in Brussels. Article 4 of the founding treaty of the US led alliance enables all 28 members to request for consultations whenever they believe their " territorial integrity, political independence or security" is in danger.

Iran Nuclear Deal, a Win-Win Solution?

Despite all efforts, the agreement is still subject to long discussions as President Barack Obama's words have indicated, "this agreement is not made in trust but in verification." Iran will dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure while the UN, US and EU will take down a range of sanctions that were imposed on Iran over the past nine years.

South Sudan: four years of independence amidst violence, blood and corruption

Four years have passed since the independence of South Sudan but the country is facing an enormous humanitarian crisis since the outbreak of the civil war, last December. Political impasse due to corruption is the major concern in a country rich in oil and yet one of the least developed countries in the world.

Libya : European Union's 'hot potato'

It is official. The EU has decided to move forward with the use of military force against alleged smugglers in the Mediterranean. After a EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said it is time to move along with logistics in order to prepare the operation known as EUNAVFOR Med.

It Smells Like World War III

lt;Opinion> The "cold war" atmosphere is spreading across the West and the East while we witness deep changes in Europe. The economic crisis, which unleashed the downfall of many sovereign states in Europe contributing to the rise of populist and far-extreme parties along with the civil war in Syria, has changed the political and international world scenario.

Are we living a new Cold War?

As we follow the recent worldwide developments we can't help but ask ourselves: is History repeating itself? We witness now the biggest tensions between the West and East since the Cold War. But the similarities have become even bigger, if we look at the other side of the Atlantic, as well as to the Middle East, with the United States sending troops to Iraq.

Russia raises suspicions flying around Europe

The announcement came from NATO but also from several European governments who had to prepare their air fleet in reaction to security measures after a large number of Russian aircraft were seen flying close to European airspace two days in a row.

China turns to Europe (for the Golden Visa)

First it was Portugal and Spain, followed by Greece and Cyprus, and now, the Chinese giant is making its move towards Italy. The scheme began in 2012 and it's quite simple: invest a big amount of money in the country and in return you receive a Golden Visa offering a residence permit.

Environment & Energy

Gas pipeline deal: Towards an Energy Union?

For the first time, Poland and the Baltic states signed a historic deal to build a gas pipeline as part of an effort to halt Russia's energetic dominance in the region. This was celebrated as a major step towards the Energy Union proclaimed by Juncker when assuming the Commission's leadership.

Is climate change the major concern of the XXI century?

Because we cannot take for granted the water we drink and the air we breathe, we all must take the environmental cause seriously. Ahead of the Paris Summit, adaptation strategies are needed at all levels of administration: at the local, regional, national, EU and also the international level.

Energy security: a top priority in the EU agenda

Eight months ago, the European Commission saw its structure totally renovated. With the appointment of new Commissioners and the new President of the European Council, along came new priorities and a new way of working. Priorities have been identified and if we look deeper into the Commission's programme we can immediately see top priorities are Internal Market, Economic and Monetary Union and Trade.

Climate Change and Energy: what is the European Union doing?

Firstly, we should take in account the 20/20/20 goals from the climate and energy package proposed by the Commission, which the three main goals for 2020 are 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20% and a 20% improvement in the EU's energy efficiency.

Livestock: the biggest threat to our planet?

A few years ago I watched Al Gore's documentary, " An Inconvenient Truth ", and I was alarmed. It's not that I didn't know about the environmental crisis facing our planet, but when I was confronted with solid empirical data and polar bears dying in the Arctic in front of my eyes, it touched me deeply.

The Pipeline Dilemma: Russia turns to Turkey and Juncker calls Putin's bluff

Back in 2012, Russian energy giant Gazprom began the construction of the South Stream pipeline, which was supposed to deliver gas to Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Austria via the Black Sea. The pipeline, a €29 billion project, would have supplied the energy needs of southern Europe.